Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pope Julius III (1487 – 1555)

Born to a famous Roman jurist, Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte was elected pope in 1550 as a compromise candidate, and chose the title Julius III. While his early career in the church shows that he was very capable and successful, his papacy is known for being extremely ineffective and undistinguished. For the most part, Julius withdrew to his palace and spent the majority of his time seeing to his own personal pleasures and keeping out of political affairs.

However, it was his relationship with a boy named Innocenzo that tarnished his name more than anything. Julius discovered Innocenzo as a young beggar in Parma before ascending to the pontificate, and he adopted him as his own nephew. When Julius became pope, he elevated Innocenzo to the status of cardinal-nephew and bestowed many gifts and benefices upon him. In fact, the relationship between Julius and Innocenzo showed signs of being much more intimate than normal family ties, and many reports indicate that Julius actually had an extended sexual affair with the young man.

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